BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Run Wild
Author: Gill Lewis
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Publication Date: July 2018
Most Suitable For: Years 2-5
Run Wild by Gill Lewis is a thought-provoking novel that explores the connection between children and the natural world, published in Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ and dyslexia-friendly style. The book is short and unintimidating and taps into important issues that interest and concern young readers, making it a suitable choice for children in the 7-9 age bracket and also for older, less confident readers.
Izzy and her friend Asha live in London and feel like there is no space to play. The only outdoor place to practise skateboarding is occupied by the troublesome Skull brothers. Looking for a new space to roam freely, the friends stumble across a derelict gasworks building and soon discover that among the rubble there is a growing miscellany of wildlife already finding shelter there, including a wolf. Unsure whether to approach the wolf, the children can see that the creature is suffering an injury and is in desperate need of help. The children need to tap into their connection with the wild as they attempt to save the wolf and speak up for creating a new nature reserve in the city.
The injured wolf becomes a symbol of the decline of wild places in Britain. The children demonstrate a willingness to bond with and help the animal in a way that adults may dismiss and much in the same way it is the children who are able to voice their need to conserve natural spaces in a way that adults may have overlooked. The bond between children and nature is strikingly portrayed in the story and there is an encouragement too for young people to make heard their unique perspective when it comes to 'rewilding'. Gill Lewis writes with a style that is full of conviction but never moralising or patronising, respecting young readers' abilities to form their own thoughts and conclusions.
Gill Lewis has created an important and moving story about how essential it is to retain dedicated outdoor spaces for people and wildlife to roam freely within the context of busy urban landscapes, because there is a little bit of wild inside us all that otherwise risks being lost in the crowdedness of modern life. The book is also endorsed by charity Rewilding Britain (www.rewildingbritain.org.uk).
Thank you to the publisher for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.